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Improving success and satisfaction of credit transfer students entering L3 modules in Science

  • Project leader(s): Eleanor CrabbJane Loughlin
  • Theme: Supporting students
  • Faculty: STEM
  • Status: Current
  • Dates: May 2019 to December 2021

Credit transfer students are often regarded as having the potential to succeed in distance learning. However for a number of years analysis of the success of new students entering directly at L3 on Q64 (BSc Natural Sciences) has shown lower pass-rates for students compared to continuing students, in a large part due to high withdrawal rate of these students. Further analysis for the 17J cohort by D. Appleton (Senior Advisor Science SST) showed that this is a particular issue for students registered on the Open degree where students are awarded the maximum level of CT, irrespective of area of prior study. In addition, it has been reported that across all qualifications a higher proportion of 240 credit transfer students get 3rd class honours than 120 credit transfer or no credit transfer students, and a lower proportion get 1st class honours (RPL workshop data).

Two issues are likely to contribute to the high drop-out rate/ lower success of these students:

  1. ensuring that students are registered on the correct module (particularly an issue for the QD and R28 students);
  2. the support provided to students as they transfer to a different style of study.

Our research questions are therefore:

  • What can be done to ensure that students are on the correct module?
  • What do 240-credit transfer students do to acclimatize themselves to distance learning at the OU and how effective is it in terms of success and satisfaction?
  • What ‘quick fixes’ can we put in place to help credit transfer students transition successfully into the OU?
  • What does evaluation of these fixes suggest we put in place for the longer term?

The impacts of this work are potentially

  • Enabling proactive contact with CT students from staff/ student buddies
  • Provision of resources to support CT students
  • Increasing awareness of how best to support CT students amongst ALs

This would lead to the following outcomes

  • Increased retention/ pass rates/ attainment levels amongst CT students – in line with student success priority
  • Appropriate resources to support credit transfer students, such as pre-module briefing materials for use in Adobe Connect

Recommendations on improving support to credit transfer students for use by module teams, ALs, colleagues in the SST and student buddies.

Related Resources: 
PDF icon Eleanor Crabb and Jane Loughlin poster.pdf244.2 KB

Project poster.